The first month of your newborn baby’s life is amazing. It’s filled with development for your baby, and is fun, scary, stressful, happy, and every emotion in between for you. New parents, can often spend a lot of time wondering what to expect, so here’s a quick guide on what to expect within the first month of your newborn’s life.
It’s common for babies to lose some weight during the first few days. They can lose up to 10% of their birth weight before they start gaining weight again. Most babies will have started gaining weight by the time they reach two weeks old. When your baby starts gaining weight, they will probably start putting on between half an ounce and one ounce per day.
Your baby’s motor skills will start to develop. Babies are born with several automatic reflexes, such as sucking and rooting. They usually need a little help to latch on. They will also automatically grip a finger in their hands. They also will flare both arms and legs if they are startled. At around a month old, they also will instinctively try to take a few steps if their feet are on a solid surface. They still have no neck strength at a month old, and will need head and neck support when lifted.
Newborn babies sleep for around 15 to 16 hours per day in total. It won’t be in large blocks, and may only be for an hour or two at a time. You baby also won’t have developed a day/night cycle, so they may wake in the middle of the night for a time before going back to sleep.
Your Baby’s Senses
Babies are born with limited eyesight. They’re very near-sighted, and can only see things that are about 8-12 inches away from them. They’re also drawn more to a human face, so you may notice that your baby stares at you while you’re feeding them. They will also look at other things like stuffed animals, but they do prefer a human face. They also find high contrast items, such as black and white objects easier to see, but that doesn’t mean that everything around them should be black and white. You can use whatever colours you want.
Your baby also won’t have fully developed eye control, so you may notice that your baby goes cross-eyed when they try to focus. This is perfectly normal, and nothing to be concerned about. If it continues at three to four months, you might want to talk to your doctor, but at a month old, it’s fine.
While your newborn won’t have fully developed hearing, they can recognise sounds and voices that they heard while developing in the womb. This is why they can recognise their parents’ voices. They also like higher pitched noises over deeper noises.
Their taste buds haven’t developed enough to distinguish between some different tastes such as sour and bitter. However, they have developed enough to distinguish sweet tastes, and they seem to prefer those like many older children, and adults do.
Their sense of smell is well developed, and they can smell the scent of their mother’s nipple. They can also smell their milk within the first few days after being born.
During the first month, a breastfed baby will probably eat 8-12 times per day, roughly every two to three hours. A bottle-fed baby may only need to eat 6-8 times per day, depending on the brand and instructions on the milk. Some parents feed on demand, while others feed on a schedule, but you’ll need to find out what works best for you and your baby. If your baby is eating well, they should have 4-6 wet nappies per day.
The only way a baby communicates is through crying. Babies cry for up to three hours a day, but this will lessen as they get older. You’ll also be able to pick out the different cries your baby makes for wanting to be fed, needing to be changed, feeling tired, or wanting to be held.